Dilemma: we argue about who hosts Christmas lunch

Jo Brand / 22 November 2016

A reader believes that the family will enjoy lunch at hers more than her sister-in-law's.

Dilemma: I want to host Christmas at my house

Every year around now my sister-in-law and I battle – via each respective family – for who is going to host Christmas lunch.

Covert manoeuvres to win ground in family discussions have begun. There’s about 24 of us and it is a huge effort, but I’m convinced we all have a better time at my house than hers.

Jo Brand's advice

Dear Napoleon,

Let’s continue the military theme, shall we? I’m afraid I fell immediately into conflict with you, as when I read your letter I automatically assumed that you were battling for your opponent to ‘do’ Christmas and let you off the hook. Oh dear, it seems you actually want to do it yourself!

Not in a million years would I ever want that and I really cannot understand your enthusiasm.

Let me think why you might want Christmas at yours:

  • Your sister-in-law is a terrible cook – no-one likes a soggy Christmas dinner with a fourth course of Gaviscon.
  • You’ve got a bigger telly.
  • our sister-in-law’s house is not as nice as yours; it’s cold, uncomfortable, cramped, grubby, dog-haired, smelly – I could go on...

You really do sound as if you’re conducting a military campaign to achieve the accolade of hosting the victory feast – and forcing your family to collude with you in the process.

If I won, it would ruin my Christmas. I like nothing better than donning comedy slippers in front of a giant screen and watching a vacuous film about princesses while someone else catapults round the kitchen, necking quantities of sherry and Valium as the pressure rises.

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, if you’re both desperate to host the festive meal, why don’t you alternate the venue each year? If this is too ridiculously straightforward, why not divide the workload and go to your sister-in-law’s, but take a lot of the food with you?

Another option, of course, is to have Christmas dinner at a restaurant. I realise, though, you will run the risk of ‘the poorly cooked roast potato’, a completely unacceptable phenomenon.

If you have surmised by now that I am a slatternly, hopeless, domestically challenged misanthrope, you’re not far off. But one thing I do love at Christmas is peace on earth and I sincerely hope you achieve it.

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